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Trop Med Int Health. 2014 Feb;19(2):212-8. doi: 10.1111/tmi.12235. Epub 2013 Dec 3.

Chagas disease in Australia and New Zealand: risks and needs for public health interventions.

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School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia; Division of Primary Care, Geneva University Hospitals and University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.



International migration has changed the global distribution of Chagas disease, with the emerging importance of non-endemic regions. We aimed at better documenting the Australia and New Zealand risk of Chagas disease and needs for interventions.


We reviewed Chagas disease-related evidences, policies and practices in Australia and New Zealand and calculated the estimated prevalence.


Australia hosts a rapidly growing population at risk and had 1928 infected residents in 2011; New Zealand had 98 in 2006. These figures underestimate the real situation, as they do not consider non-permanent residents. The only existing policy in both countries is the identification of blood donors with a history of or a risk of infection via questionnaire. There is no programme of detection and care of patients. The lifetime economic burden of disease for society is potentially very high.


Chagas disease is an emerging health risk with potential high human and economic costs in Australia and New Zealand in the absence of public health attention. Implementing strategies to screen high-risk groups and prevent transmission should be considered. Moreover, migration between the Western Pacific and Chagas endemic regions and the presence of vectors means this risk applies in the whole region.


Australia; Chagas disease; New Zealand; Trypanosoma cruzi; Western Pacific Region

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